10 min read
Not so long ago, drop shipping from Amazon to eBay was a highly profitable and lucrative business model. The concept was simple – find a popular product on Amazon, sell it for a higher price on eBay then purchase it from Amazon and have it shipped directly to the customer. The difference between the Amazon price and your eBay selling price, minus any fees, was your earnings to keep.
Originally considered ingenious, the unavoidable flaws in the business model slowly became apparent. Not only did it become increasingly difficult to earn profit due to tough competition, but eBay began cracking down on those suspected of participating. A subsequent change to eBay’s drop shipping policy rendered the technique officially forbidden on the platform.
If you’ve been considering getting involved with Amazon to eBay drop shipping, this article will explain why it’s no longer a viable business opportunity. You’ll also find information on how to build a drop shipping business on eBay the right way, as well as a collection of answers to the most frequently asked questions.
What is Amazon to eBay Drop Shipping
Amazon to eBay drop shipping is a form of retail arbitrage in which Amazon products are sold on eBay for marked-up prices, then purchased from Amazon for a lower price and shipped directly to consumers. Although a perfectly legal practice, the model has significant flaws which render it risky, unsustainable and forbidden on eBay. Unlike the traditional method of drop shipping which involves sourcing products from a genuine wholesaler, retail arbitrage drop shipping is often considered unethical, mainly because products are sold to unsuspecting consumers for significantly above retail prices. For more information on the workings of a traditional dropship business, please read our guide on what is drop shipping and how it works.
8 Reasons to Avoid Amazon to eBay Drop Shipping
It’s Against eBay’s Terms
One of the biggest reasons to avoid drop shipping from Amazon to eBay is because it’s against eBay’s terms. At some point in 2019, eBay updated their drop shipping policy to specifically state that selling products on eBay, then sourcing them from another retailer or marketplace was forbidden. The use of the word marketplace was particularly interesting considering Amazon is one of the largest marketplaces in the world. It was clearly a direct reference to them. Read the policy here.
With the change in policy followed a pursuit of accounts suspected of retail arbitrage drop shipping. Thousands of eBay sellers were suspended, and many profitable businesses destroyed overnight. For those who slipped under the radar, the risk of suspension was no longer worth the reward.
It’s Against Amazon Prime Terms
Drop shipping products from Amazon to eBay using the Amazon Prime service is a direct violation of the terms and conditions. As stated in the policy ‘Prime members are not permitted to purchase products for the purpose of resale or to ship to their customers or potential customers’.
Sellers using Amazon Prime for drop shipping quickly found their Amazon accounts being suspended. It’s no surprise either. Amazon Prime is a specialist service for loyal Amazon customers. It’s designed for consumers who place only a few orders each month, not drop shippers who order hundreds, if not thousands of products. Quite simply, Amazon cannot afford to ship thousands of products with express delivery every month for such a low fee.
Images are Copyrighted
While drop shipping from Amazon to eBay is technically legal, using product images for which you don’t own the copyrights is not. Sellers participating in Amazon to eBay drop shipping often found their listing being reported to eBay by the original rights owners, resulting in the immediate removal of the listing and a stern warning from eBay. Continuous violations of copyrights resulted in account suspension and the removal of all listings. Unless you plan to create your own product images and descriptions, copyright violations are inevitable. Even with the use of your own images remains the risk of design violations or complaints of selling unauthorised brands.
Items Arrive in Amazon Packaging
Picture this. You purchase a product on eBay only for it to arrive in Amazon branded packaging with a confusing gift note. What’s the first thing you do? Naturally, most people would go directly to Amazon and search for the item, inevitably discovering it listed for a much lower price. Such a discovery is likely to result in negative feedback or a demand for a refund.
Back in the days when Amazon to eBay drop shipping was in its infancy, very few people knew about it. Even fewer believed it was possible to make money from it. Those that were doing it found competition scarce. It was easy to sell a £20 Amazon item for £30 or more on eBay. In time however, eBay became bombarded with Amazon listings, reaching a stage where a single Amazon item had hundreds of equivalent listings on eBay, all with the exact same title, images and descriptions.
The mass rise in competition led to a price lowering battle between eBay sellers. The result was diminishing profit margins and an increasing struggle to stand out from the crowd. In the glory days, a seller could make tons of sales with very few listings. These days, sellers need thousands of listings just to achieve the same levels of success.
Tracking Info is Useless
Having tracking information is essential for disputing and winning eBay cases, particularly item not received cases. When drop shipping from Amazon to eBay, most products will be sent via Amazon Logistics. The only way to track an order sent via Amazon Logistics is by logging into your Amazon account and viewing the order details. It’s therefore impossible for any third party, particularly eBay to view and verify the tracking details.
If you can’t provide tracking information to prove that an item was delivered, eBay will always side with the buyer. Providing a screenshot of the confirmed delivery, a tactic many tried, won’t work either. Screenshots are easily manipulated, leaving eBay unable to take them as fact. It’s also unrealistic for an eBay associate to login to your Amazon account and check the tracking details. Doing so would only result in bringing your retail arbitrage practices to their attention.
Amazon Prices are Volatile
Millions of Amazon products change in price every single day. Many more run out of stock or disappear from the marketplace entirely. That’s part of the nature of being a marketplace, sellers come and go. Unfortunately, this makes it impossible to keep your eBay listings up to date with accurate stock levels and prices. Even with the use of drop shipping software, selling a product on eBay that’s no longer in stock on Amazon is inevitable.
With a mixture of third-party sellers, all of which share the same listing page on Amazon, it’s impossible for software to accurately monitor prices and stock. While one seller may offer free shipping, another may charge a small fee.
3rd Party Sellers Complicate Things
A lot of people don’t realise that Amazon is a marketplace. Millions of Amazon products are sold and fulfilled by third-party sellers rather than by Amazon themselves. When drop shipping, it can become extremely messy dealing with multiple sellers at a time, particularly when it comes to delivery times, returns and price/stock tracking. In fact, some of the most popular drop shipping software solutions struggle to efficiently track Amazon stock and prices due to the sheer volume of third-party sellers. It’s much simpler to source products from one supplier with the same shipping, returns and payment policies.
The Alternative to Amazon to eBay Drop Shipping
These days, the only way build a compliant, sustainable and long-lasting eBay drop shipping business is by sourcing products from a genuine wholesaler or trade only supplier. Sourcing products from Amazon, or any other retailer for that matter, is no longer acceptable. To be clear, drop shipping is still allowed on eBay, but only when its done in the correct way. For more information, read our extensive eBay drop shipping guide complete with frequently asked questions and details on how to find real wholesale suppliers.
Amazon to eBay Drop Shipping FAQ’s
Is Amazon to eBay drop shipping legal?
While the process of drop shipping Amazon products to eBay is perfectly legal, using product images and descriptions for which you don’t own the copyrights is not. The true copyright owners are well within their rights to report you to eBay which could result in strict penalties such as account restrictions or suspension. Although unlikely, copyright owners also reserve the right to take official legal action. Therefore, unless you create your own images or acquire permission from the copyright holder, using Amazon images to sell on eBay is risky and illegal.
Does eBay allow drop shipping from Amazon?
No. As of 2019, drop shipping products from Amazon, or any other retailer for that matter, is against eBay’s policy. Failure to follow the policy could result in strict penalties such as account restrictions or suspension.
What if I’m already drop shipping Amazon products?
If you’re already drop shipping Amazon products on eBay, you should make it a priority to gradually end your listings and replace them with dropship products from genuine wholesalers or trade only drop shipping suppliers. Removing all listings sourced from Amazon or any other retailers as soon as possible is a must. Please see our eBay drop shipping guide for more information on building a sustainable eBay drop shipping business.
What happens if my eBay account gets flagged?
If your eBay account gets flagged for retail arbitrage drop shipping, the most common course of action by eBay is to enforce restrictions. If your account is restricted, it means your listings will be hidden from the search results, leading to a sudden decline in sales. Other common restrictions associated with flagged accounts include losing the ability to create new listings and being unable to use certain eBay features.
What should I do if my eBay account is already flagged?
If your eBay account has been flagged, you should open a new account and close the flagged one. Restrictions will usually only apply to that one specific flagged account. Therefore, opening a new one is the best course of action. As far as I know, there’s no way to have the restrictions removed from your existing account.
What should I do if I get suspended from eBay?
Unfortunately, if you get suspended from eBay, it’s extremely difficult to start selling again. The only option is to create a brand-new account with a different name and different PayPal account. However, even with new accounts, it’s possible for eBay to link them to your previously suspended account based on your location. Therefore, switching IP address is also advisable.
Conclusion: Amazon to eBay Drop Shipping is DEAD
With increasing hurdles to overcome when drop shipping from Amazon to eBay, the business model is fast become obsolete. Damaging action from eBay including mass suspensions and account restrictions render the business highly risky. Ever advancing techniques to detect those participating in such practices make it impossible to stay under the radar. Whether it’s today, next week or next year, eBay will eventually penalise your account. Taking all the flaws into consideration, it’s safe to say, Amazon to eBay drop shipping is a thing of the past.